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Chemistry 101 : Neutralization, Precipitation, Distillation, Filtration

Updated on April 4, 2015


Neutralization occurs when an acid reacts with a base/alkali. When a hydroxide reacts with an acid, the products would be water and salt. The type of salt depends on the reactants. When a carbonate reacts with an acid, the products would be water, salt and carbon dioxide. When a metal only reacts with an acid, the products would be salt and hydrogen. The general equations are :

  • Hydroxide + Acid = Water + Salt
  • Carbonate + Acid = Water + Salt + Carbon Dioxide
  • Metal + Acid = Salt + Hydroxide


Precipitation is a reaction where an insoluble solid is created. The color of the precipitate will be helpful in determining what ions are present. The colors of precipitates on transition metals are :

  • Iron(II) = Green
  • Iron(III) = Orange-Brown
  • Copper = Light Blue
  • Zinc = White

Iron(II) will turn Orange-Brown if left in the air due to oxidization. Halogens also form precipitates. Colors will be :

  • Chlorine = White
  • Fluorine = No precipitate
  • Bromine = Very light cream
  • Iodine = Very light yellow


Distillation is the purification of water. In the distillation process, impurities contained in water will be removed. Unlike filtration, distillation will completely remove any impurities including soluble impurities.An example of distillation is distilling an aqueous solution such as sulfuric acid. The solution will be heated into vapor. The vapor travels through a tube where impurities will separated into different tubes. At the main end of the tube, pure water will condense. The reason why distillation is not widely used is because it is not economically friendly.


Filtration is just like distillation, but not accurate. Water is passed through various rocks and minerals which will remove most impurities and a small amount will also be added to the water. The benefits of filtration is that it is very economically friendly and that the processed water will contain minerals. The downside is that impurities are still dissolved in the water. Filtration and chlorination are mostly used together in industries to give the best economical results.

For more info

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